One of my first blog posts when I started my new Primal Lifestyle back in July 2017 was about how effective and healthy walking is for us. That was the beginning of my career as a Primal Health Coach and since then, I have enjoyed the benefits of walking thousands of miles, alone and with clients or friends.
Be that early morning power walks, leisurely evening pre- or after dinner walks and hikes or treks in the parks, forests, beaches, volcano’s, waterfalls and even walking city streets and shopping malls.
Walking has become so important to me that I feel bad or even down if I don’t get my daily dose of walking in.
Here are some of the more important benefits of walking:
Reduces stress | improves sleep | promotes creativity | helps you solve problems | come up with great new ideas | supports your longevity | is meditative | calming | boosts energy levels | frees your mind | builds your cardio vascular system | strengthens your heart | reduces risk of heart disease | reduces risk of a stroke | lungs and other organs | builds your leg muscles | supports your core | supports your lower back | builds bone density | lifts your spirits | clears your head | supports fat loss.
Now that you have read these few important benefits (and trust me there are more), do you feel like getting off your butt right now (yes I know you are sitting on your butt), and going for a walk? That’s always a good idea, no matter what time of day it is.
The truth is most of us human beings today don’t understand the real function of those two most precious things we were given – our legs – and why we have them. We have them of course so that we can get from A to B and live.
Living without legs is not such an easy task. Yet so few people actually use their legs effectively to improve their health and fitness. We should all be walking a whole lot more!
Today’s general lifestyle is geared towards driving everywhere with a car or motorbike, taking a bus or a train, taking escalators or elevators rather than stairs and keeping any type of walking to a bear minimum necessary in order to function.
Of course there are lots of people out there that consciously make an effort to exercise every day, be that going for run, a bike ride, a gym class, yoga, martial arts and so on. But, what people do in between these activities is what matters.
If we are only going for a 30 minute run each morning or evening, and the rest of the day you are living the classic sedentary lifestyle, meaning sitting at a desk all day and on a sofa at night, and just not walking or moving much other than the one specific time per day, then we have what I call “a movement problem”.
What we should be doing is moving sufficiently at least every hour during the day. This means taking frequent breaks from work or whatever else it may be that is keeping you from moving.
My favourite recommendation is to get up, go outside, warm or cold and walk briskly for 5 minutes each hour. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?
So let’s say we have 12 hours of the day where we are up and actively doing stuff. Let’s do the math: 12 hours x 5 minutes = 60 minutes per day. Now, 1 hour out of all of your probably 16 to 18 hours awake, isn’t that much to ask really, is it?
And please don’t say to yourself that you just don’t have the time and are too busy to get up and walk. Everyone can make or find the time, everyone. If you think you can’t, I’ve got your solution, get up 1 hour earlier and build this habit into your daily routine. There are really no excuses!
I’ve taken your time excuse away, next would be the common weather excuse; being its too cold, it’s snowing, it’s raining, it’s windy, it’s too hot and humid or both and so on… None of those weather related excuses stick. In fact, exposing yourself to these elements is exactly what you should be doing.
Exposing oneself to varying weather conditions (being dressed accordingly) strengthens your immune system, builds discipline and confidence, in the sense that you learn you can do this and make it a habit wherever you live and feel great as a result.
Some weeks, if I’m really busy, or travelling, such as I was a month ago when I came back from Bali to the US, walking is all I do for a week or more, and it keeps me fit and lean. But I will walk without fail no matter what, each morning as I get up at 6am, I drink two glasses of room temperature lemon water, have a nice cup of coffee, then I head right out for my 4 mile morning power walk, be it light, dark, rain or shine.
During the day, I will walk everywhere I can and make time for that (you can also work while walking, so you don’t have to be “wasting time”), and then again in the evening, usually after dinner around 7pm, I’ll go for another 1 to 2 mile evening walk.
Believe it or not, by sticking to this habit I usually clock around 6 to 10 miles of walking every single day. That’s over 2000 miles of walking per year. Think about that.
If you can’t walk for whatever reason, here are some tips to help your movement pattern improve throughout the day. Again perform these at least every 60 minutes, if not every 30 minutes and you will look and feel better every day:
– Squats: 10 x 3
– Push-ups: 5 to 10 x 3
– Plank: 30 to 60 seconds x 3
– Stretch legs, back, shoulders neck (see stretching routine on my website)
You can do one of these exercises or all of them right there next to your desk or in a break room. You can do one set or all, or 2 or 3 sets. Just do enough to get your heart rate up and break a little sweat. That’s it.
Thanks for reading.
A Primal Lifestyle
P.S. My next blog will drill down into my ideal weekly workout pattern.